Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 2 Bill, a corrective victory for Zimbabwe

by | May 4, 2021 | Politics | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

It was a nail-biting moment for Zimbabwe on the sunny afternoon of May 4 2021, as the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment number 2 Bill of 2021 sailed through in the Senate.

The Bill was read for the third and final time in the Upper House as is mandatory in the constitution of the Republic. A vote was conducted which yielded a 65-10 majority in favour of the amendments.

The Bill underwent rigorous scrutiny during its first and second readings, with opposition MDC-T Senators holding their fort in the debates.

This saw it being referred back to the drafting committee at one point due to some inadequacies.

Most pertinent in the bill are clauses that include one to do with Presidential Running mate, extension of the Women’s quota by another two Parliamentary terms, introduction of the Youth quota of 10 Parliamentary seats and appointment of senior judges by the President, regularisation of Provincial Councils through removal of Parliamentarians from such councils and the one that establishes parameters for Devolution.

“What this basically means is that we are now going to remove the contentious running mate clause because it was badly drafted, parked for some time because it was contentious.
We are now going to move forward with the devolution agenda. The President is very passionate about devolution, hence you may recall that Ministers of State are now called Ministers is State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, to ensure that we push forward the devolution agenda. As you may know, within the Constitution there were certain omissions and errors, and there was no other way we could rectify that besides through a Constitutional Amendment Bill.
And for our women, we have an agenda of women empowerment, and in the constitution we had agreed that we will have a women’s quota for ten years, but it’s come to an end now, and as a country we decided that let’s extend the tenure so that perhaps after that time we can then review,” said Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi soon after the vote.

The significance of this bill is that it now empowers the Government as well as political parties to plan for 2023 elections knowing very well that our women empowerment agenda is still on course and the new Youth quota takes effect forthwith.
The Bill empowers the President to appoint his Vice Presidents and this empowers him to make appropriate changes with speed whenever a need arises

However, it is the significance of this bill that draws natural local and international attention as it is a major milestone in the alignment of the country’s supreme law to the aspirations of the majority of Zimbabwe as represented by the ZANU PF government.

It is important to note that the 2013 Constitution making process was not absolute in its making as it was subject to compromise, and in most cases had to incorporate clauses that are alien to our Zimbabwean situation were smuggled in to accommodate various interest groups, some of whom were fronts for foreign interests.

We can safely say that it was a very dangerous experiment that was influenced by foreign sponsors who still have vested interests in the nation’s political processes.

It was negotiated under duress as ZANU PF was under pressure from sanctions and a subsequent lack of majority in parliament.

Of course inasmuch as the opposition MDC-T would have wanted to oppose the bill on the basis of the Presidential running mate clause which they deem contentious, they could not win over their female Senators who were all but overjoyed by the extension of the Women’s quota by another two terms and the introduction of the Youth quota of ten Parliamentary seats.

“As a party we believe that the strength of our democracy is not only in the expression of our diversity through any vote, but more so the courage to always partake in such polls in order to express our divergent views,” these were the sentiments by the MDC-T Spokesperson, Mr Witness Dube in a statement.

A constitution is made for the people and thus should respond to the aspirations of the people in their pursuit of nationhood. It is not cast in stone.
A case in point: the country’s push for women empowerment and inclusion of the youths in matters of governance.
These are matters of national progress that can not be ignored or relegated for political expediency.

Zimbabwe has been pursuing vigorous empowerment programs since the turn of the millennium and it is in that spirit that the Women’s quota had to be extended.
Devolution as a progressive mode of governance could not be actualised in the absence of supporting legislative clauses in the constitution.

It is therefore on the back of people-centred constitutional interventions that Senators from the opposition parties had no choice but to support the Constitutional Amendment Number 2 Bill of 2021.